Ranieri with Inter Milan in 2011
|Date of birth||20 October 1951|
|Place of birth||Rome, Italy|
|Leicester City (manager)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Claudio Ranieri Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [ˈklaudjo raˈnjɛːri]; born 20 October 1951) is an Italian football manager and former player. He is the current manager of English club Leicester City.
He began his managerial career in the lower leagues in Italy during the late 1980s, and made his name at Cagliari, whom he took from Serie C1 up to Serie A in successive seasons. He later went on to manage Napoli, where he led the team to qualify for the UEFA Cup, only to be sacked the following season. In 1993, he joined Fiorentina, and immediately led them to Serie A promotion, also winning the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1996, before moving to Spain in 1997, to manage Valencia and then Atlético Madrid. With Valencia, he won a Copa del Rey and an UEFA Intertoto Cup, and helped the club to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. In 2000, Ranieri moved to England to become head coach at Chelsea. His four seasons there saw Chelsea improve their points total season on season, with them finishing runners-up in 2004 and reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-final the same season. He was sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that May, but a number of players he signed and brought through during his time at Stamford Bridge formed the core of the side that went on to achieve domestic and international success in subsequent seasons.
After an unsuccessful second spell back in Spain with Valencia, he returned to management in Italy in 2007, where he encountered mixed success with spells at Parma, Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan. In 2012, he was hired to manage French team Monaco, who had just finished in the middle of Ligue 2, and earned promotion as champions in his first season, then finished as Ligue 1 runner-up in his second season. This was followed by a foray into international management with the Greek national team, but he was sacked less than four months later due to a 1–0 defeat against the Faroe Islands in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying. Ranieri returned to England once more in the summer of 2015 as manager of Leicester City. He went on to win the 2015–16 Premier League, after the club had narrowly avoided relegation the season prior, and was named the 2016 Premier League Manager of the Season, and LMA Manager of the Year. He was also awarded the Grand Officer of the Italian Order of Merit and the Enzo Bearzot Award as best Italian manager of the year.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Playing career
- 3 Managerial career
- 4 Managerial statistics
- 5 Honours
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Ranieri was born in San Saba, a neighbourhood of Rome near the Circus Maximus, and is a lifelong supporter of A.S. Roma. He began playing football at his neighbourhood church. A childhood friend described him as having a stereotypically English demeanour, in being quiet and reserved. He and his family live in Formello, a nearby town where 1982 FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper Dino Zoff is also among the residents.
Ranieri is married to Dr Rosanna. He has a daughter, Claudia, who married Italian actor Alessandro Roja and gave Claudio a grandson, named Orlando. In May 2016, during his time as manager of Leicester City, he attracted media attention when he stated that he would be travelling to Rome to have lunch with his 96-year-old mother instead of watching Chelsea–Tottenham; the match ended in a 2–2 draw, a result which ultimately awarded Ranieri his first ever Premier League title.
Ranieri first signed as a professional football player with Roma, though in his two seasons with the club he only made six appearances; he also had a one-month loan spell with Siracusa. As a player, Ranieri spent most of his career playing as a defender for Catanzaro (1974–1982), Catania (1982–1984), and Palermo (1984–1986). He was involved in four successful promotion campaigns (two with Catanzaro and one each with Catania and Palermo).
Early years in Italy
After initially coaching amateur side Vigor Lamezia, his first managerial position was at Campania Puteolana, a small team in Pozzuoli. He took charge there in 1987. However, it was at Cagliari that he made his name; after joining the club in 1988, he helped the team to gain promotion to Serie A from the third division Serie C1 in successive seasons, also winning the Coppa Italia Serie C with the club in 1989.
From 1991, he managed for two seasons at Napoli, who were facing financial difficulties at the time. Despite finishing in fourth place in Serie A, and qualifying for the UEFA Cup, he won no silverware during his spell with the club. During his second season in charge of Napoli, he was sacked by the club's owner at the time, Corrado Ferlaino, following the team's elimination in the second round of the UEFA Cup, despite the club's notable 5–1 away victory over Valencia in the first round of the tournament. He did, however, introduce Gianfranco Zola to the first team to replace the suspended star Diego Maradona, who had recently left the club, as well as Daniel Fonseca, whom he played alongside veteran striker Careca in the team's front line.
Ranieri joined Fiorentina in 1993, gaining promotion to Serie A after winning the 1993–94 Serie B title in his first season in charge of the Florence side. He subsequently had success in Serie A, winning the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in 1996, and along with the offensive talents of Gabriel Batistuta, Manuel Rui Costa, and Francesco Baiano, he helped the club to go on a 15-match unbeaten run during the 1995–96 Serie A season, which saw the team hold second place for several months behind league leaders Milan; Fiorentina lost five of their last nine league games, however, and eventually finished the season in fourth place. The next season was less successful, as Fiorentina finished in a disappointing ninth place in the league, although the team managed to reach the semi-finals of the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, losing out to eventual champions Barcelona.
First spell in Spain
In 1997, Ranieri moved to Spain to take over at Valencia. He was the coach from 1997 to 1999 and guided Valencia to a fourth-place finish in La Liga, achieving UEFA Champions League qualification in 1999; he also won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1998, and the Copa del Rey in 1999. After his first spell, Ranieri left the club in 1999 a popular man, and has been credited for putting Valencia on the track to subsequent success in the Champions League and La Liga, despite initially sitting in the lower half of the table upon his arrival. Under Ranieri, Valencia were known for their efficiency and defensive solidity in his tactically rigorous 4–4–2 formation, as well as their use of high pressing to win back possession, and their ability to score from counter-attacks. He was responsible for the development of several youth players at the club, among them Claudio Lopez, Gaizka Mendieta, Miguel Ángel Angulo, and Javier Farinós. Ranieri also signed some players who would become highly successful at Mestalla, among them goalkeeper Santiago Cañizares.
Ranieri subsequently signed for Atlético Madrid in 1999; during his time as the club's manager, the team went into administration and struggled on the pitch. Nearing the brink of relegation, Ranieri resigned before he could be sacked by the Atlético chairman Jesús Gil, who was well known for sacking managers. Atlético would indeed go on to be relegated at the end of the season.
As head coach of Chelsea from 18 September 2000 to 30 May 2004, Ranieri worked hard to overcome the language barrier. When he arrived at the London club, he could speak only limited English; fortunately, the club had a few players who could speak Italian and Spanish and could help translate for him on the training pitch. Ranieri's first season featured inconsistent results, with Chelsea reaching sixth place and a UEFA Cup spot. Ranieri had been instructed to reduce the average age of the squad, and worked to rebuild Chelsea in the summer of 2001, essentially creating a brand new midfield by signing Frank Lampard from West Ham United, Emmanuel Petit and Boudewijn Zenden from Barcelona, and Jesper Grønkjær from Ajax. He also signed defender William Gallas from Olympique Marseille, spending in total over £30 million.
He was criticised, however, both for selling fan favourite Dennis Wise and the fact that Chelsea's league performance did not improve much on the previous season. They finished 6th once again but did reach the FA Cup Final, losing 2–0 to Arsenal. During the 2002–03 season and throughout his Chelsea days Ranieri was accused of over-rotating his squad, picking up the nickname of "the Tinkerman" from the British media. Chelsea finished the season on a high, qualifying for the Champions League after beating Liverpool 2–1 on the last day of the season. Ranieri's achievement, coming after a close season where the club were in a difficult financial situation and the only arrival was Enrique de Lucas from Espanyol on a free transfer, was greatly appreciated by fans and the media alike. In addition, Ranieri succeeded in getting the best out of players Samuele Dalla Bona and Mario Stanić and nurtured emerging talents in John Terry, Robert Huth, and Carlton Cole.
When Chelsea were taken over by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003, Ranieri was given a large transfer fund but also found his job under threat. Days after the takeover, Abramovich was spotted meeting with England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. Although the club denied Eriksson would be taking over at the time, these rumours would haunt Ranieri's season. Ranieri spent £120 million on players in the summer of 2003. These signings included Irish winger Damien Duff for a then club record £17 million, English youngsters Wayne Bridge, Joe Cole, and Glen Johnson, Argentine pair Juan Sebastián Verón and Hernán Crespo, Frenchman Claude Makélélé and Romanian star Adrian Mutu. The heavy investment bought the best league placing for the club in 49 years, as they finished runners-up in the Premier League to Arsenal, the first side in over a century to go an entire league season unbeaten. This position automatically qualified Chelsea for the Champions League. The club also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League; Chelsea knocked out Arsenal en route, although Ranieri's position was weakened by the semi-final loss to AS Monaco, a reverse the manager himself was blamed for due to several bizarre substitutions and tactical changes.
That season saw Chelsea break club records for the fewest goals conceded and highest number of points in a season. Former English footballer and pundit David Platt used the example of Ranieri to illustrate his observation that "building a team that can win the title and actually steering this team to the title are two different matters entirely." On 31 May 2004, after almost a year of speculation, which included the club's well-publicized courting of Eriksson, he was finally relieved of his coaching duties at Chelsea, and his job went to José Mourinho, who had led Porto to successive European triumphs. In Ranieri's four seasons, Chelsea improved their points total season on season. The core of the Chelsea team which won two Premier League titles under Mourinho, including John Terry, William Gallas, Wayne Bridge, Claude Makélélé and Frank Lampard were all brought to Chelsea or nurtured by Ranieri. During his final months at Chelsea, Ranieri also identified Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben as players Chelsea should sign, both of whom went on to become key players at the club.
On 8 June 2004, he returned for a second stint as coach of Valencia on a three-year contract. Ranieri took over after Rafael Benítez, the manager who had led Valencia to the UEFA Cup and La Liga double the previous season, resigned and then promptly joined Liverpool. Ranieri made a series of signings from Serie A, including Marco Di Vaio, Stefano Fiore, Bernardo Corradi, and Emiliano Moretti. After a bright start, in which the Mestalla outfit picked up 14 out of a possible 18 points and beat Porto to lift the UEFA Super Cup, Valencia went into a slump starting in October. They won only once in 7 games and were knocked out of the Champions League, partly thanks to a 5–1 defeat to Inter Milan in which midfielder Miguel Ángel Angulo was sent off for spitting. After a brief revival, Valencia went another 6 games without a win beginning mid-January. Apart from the unpopularity of his four Italian signings Ranieri was criticised for not playing Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar and for persistent changes to formations and tactics, something resembling his Chelsea days. He was sacked on 25 February 2005 after Valencia were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Steaua Bucureşti. Valencia were sixth in La Liga at the time of Ranieri's sacking. Quique Sánchez Flores was announced by Valencia in June 2005 to be Ranieri's long-term successor. Prior to that, Ranieri had received £3 million from Valencia for the premature termination of his contract.
On 12 February 2007, one day after the 23rd Serie A matchday, Ranieri was announced as the new Parma manager following the sacking of Stefano Pioli. He lost his first game in charge against U.C. Sampdoria 1–0, but subsequently managed to make several impressive results to help Parma in the relegation battle, obtaining 17 points in 10 matches (to be compared to his predecessor's 15 points in 23 matches), including a 4–3 unexpected away win at Palermo which caused the rosanero to sack their coach Francesco Guidolin. The impressive results continued in the run up to the end of the season and Parma avoided relegation, ending the season with a 3–1 win over Empoli to finish at 12th position in the Serie A. The team started to hit some impressive goal-scoring form as well, seen in the 4–1 thrashing of Messina in early May. After helping Parma escape from relegation, Ranieri was linked with several managing jobs, including Fulham, Manchester City, and Palermo. On 16 May 2007, William Hill suspended betting on him becoming Manchester City manager following a flurry of betting activity. On 31 May, Parma announced Ranieri would not be the club's manager for the following season.
On 4 June 2007, it was announced Ranieri would be taking over at Juventus. He signed a 3-year contract with the club. The deal took effect on 1 July 2007. Ranieri signed names such as Vincenzo Iaquinta from Udinese and Zdeněk Grygera from Ajax. His first season as manager of Juventus was fairly successful, as he guided the team to a 3rd-place finish just one season after they had been competing in the Serie B, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, and finishing the season as the joint top-scoring team in the league. In August 2008, Ranieri engaged in a war of words with new Inter Milan manager José Mourinho, who had replaced him four years earlier at Chelsea. Mourinho criticised Ranieri for his old-fashioned mentality, and for failing to win an important title as a manager in his career; this led to a temporary feud between the two managers. He highlighted Inter as the strongest threat to Juventus in Serie A. Juventus began the season strongly, and defeated Spanish champions Real Madrid in both their first-round legs of the Champions League to top their group, although the Turin club eventually fell to Ranieri's former team, Chelsea, in the round of 16. After Juventus struggled with injuries, and failed to register a win in seven matches during a two-month period, which left the team in third place after a 2–2 home draw with Atalanta, he was said to have been under real pressure to maintain his job as head coach with many supporters of the club publicly criticising the team and in particular Ranieri. Speculation ended when, after having an emergency board meeting on 18 May 2009, the board sacked Ranieri after Inter were confirmed Champions. He was replaced by youth system chief Ciro Ferrara. Ranieri had also led Juventus to the Coppa Italia semi-finals that season, where they were eliminated by Lazio, who went on to win the title. Juventus finished the league season in second place, one position better than the previous season.
On 1 September 2009, Ranieri was signed as the new manager of Roma on a two-year contract, succeeding Luciano Spalletti, who had resigned that day after opening the 2009–10 season with two defeats. Thus, Rome-born Ranieri became head coach of the football club which he had supported since childhood. Under his guidance, Roma dramatically improved their performances and thrust themselves into the championship battle, reducing the gap between themselves and leaders Inter to only one point after Ranieri's team defeated Mourinho's Nerazzurri in Week 31. Roma then went on to win two more games consecutively and overtook Inter by Week 33, thanks to a 2–1 home win against Atalanta and Inter's 2–2 draw against Fiorentina. This left the Giallorossi on the top of the table with five games remaining. Roma then extended its unbeaten run to 23 games, and also maintained first place in the league table by winning a heated derby against crosstown rivals Lazio, extending the club's unbeaten run to 24 matches. Ranieri was hailed by the press for substituting local heroes Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi during half-time, while Roma was losing 1–0; the Giallorossi then won the game 2–1 thanks to two second-half goals from Mirko Vučinić. However Roma would surrender their lead in Serie A and also lose the Coppa Italia final, in both cases to treble-winning Inter. Following Roma's 1–0 defeat in the Coppa Italia final, Inter boss Mourinho publicly mocked Ranieri, as he had reportedly showed his team the film Gladiator before the match, in order to motivate his players.
The following season, Ranieri suffered yet another defeat to Inter in the 2010 Supercoppa Italiana. The season started off poorly for Roma and saw Ranieri clash with team captain Totti, who was critical of being left out of the team and of his coach's defensive tactics and constant changes to the starting line-up. Although the club's form later improved, Ranieri resigned as manager on 20 February 2011, after a poor run of results. His final game in charge was a 4–3 defeat to Genoa, in which Roma surrendered a 3–0 lead.
On 22 September 2011, Ranieri was named as the new manager of Inter Milan taking the place of Gian Piero Gasperini who was dismissed for poor performances after losing 4 out of 5 matches. He signed a contract with the club until 30 June 2013. The Nerazzurri managed to win 3–1 in Ranieri's debut against Bologna on 24 September; this was the first competitive win for the team in all tournaments since the beginning of the season, and was followed by a 3–2 2011–12 UEFA Champions League away win at CSKA Moscow. A run of seven consecutive Serie A wins in December 2011 and January 2012, including a 1–0 victory over cross-city rivals A.C. Milan, suddenly had them talking of challenging for the title.
Thereafter, Inter Milan suffered a poor run of results (which also saw the departure of Thiago Motta to Paris Saint-Germain F.C.) and their UEFA Champions League hopes were hanging by a thread after being beaten by Olympique de Marseille 1–0 in the round of 16 first leg match. Speculation was growing that Ranieri would be sacked soon, reaching its peak during half-time of the Serie A match with Catania, but it died down after a 2–0 away win over A.C. Chievo Verona. However, on 26 March 2012, following a 0–2 defeat against Juventus and after a run of just two wins in their last 13 games and eventual elimination by Marseille in the Champions League, Ranieri was dismissed.
On 30 May 2012, Ranieri signed a two-year contract with French Ligue 2 club Monaco. Ranieri led Monaco to promotion to the Ligue 1, with the club winning the Ligue 2 championship title for the first time in its history. The following season, Ranieri led Monaco to a second place in the 2013–14 Ligue 1 behind champions Paris Saint-Germain, finishing the season with 80 points. On 20 May 2014, his contract as Monaco manager was not renewed.
Ranieri was appointed manager of the Greece national football team following the departure of Fernando Santos after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, signing a two-year contract worth €1.6 million. Compared to their previous stability under Otto Rehhagel and Fernando Santos, Ranieri often changed line-ups and formations, confusing the players; moreover he did not live in Greece. He was sacked on 15 November 2014, the day after a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying defeat at home against the Faroe Islands. He received an €800,000 severance deal.
He reflected in a 2015 interview with the Leicester Mercury:
|“||I made a mistake when I was manager of Greece. I wanted to look because it is a different job at a club to a national team. I had four matches and for each game I trained the players for just three days. That is 12 days of training. What can I do in just 12 days? I had to rebuild a national team in just 12 days. What could I do? I am not a magician.||”|
On 13 July 2015, Leicester City announced Ranieri as the club's new manager on a three-year contract. His appointment was initially met with scepticism; Marcus Christenson of The Guardian called it "baffling" given Ranieri's frequent recent dismissals and Greece's loss to the Faroe Islands. Christenson highlighted that Ranieri's good humour would be the antithesis to the short-tempered outbursts of his predecessor Nigel Pearson, concluding that "If Leicester wanted someone nice, they’ve got him. If they wanted someone to keep them in the Premier League, then they may have gone for the wrong guy".
His managerial debut with the club came in a 4–2 win over Sunderland on the opening match of the season on 8 August. After the game Ranieri told the media that he inspired the team to win by giving them motivation from local rock band Kasabian. Following Leicester's first clean sheet of the season, which came on the club's tenth fixture of the 2015–16 Premier League season, in a 1–0 home win to Crystal Palace on 24 October, Ranieri attracted further media attention when he rewarded his players by taking the team out for making pizza and having champagne. The strong start of the season saw the club at the top of the Premier League at Christmas, having scored in each of their first 17 games. During this run, their No.9 striker Jamie Vardy broke the world Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive league games, a run Ranieri compared to Gabriel Batistuta's during the 1994–95 season, whilst Ranieri was his manager at Fiorentina.
In March 2016, Ranieri's quips once again attracted attention from the media when he stated in an interview that he used an "imaginary bell" in training in order to keep his players focused, by saying "dilly ding, dilly dong"; the quote later gained popularity and became a club catchphrase. Leicester City's change of form led the BBC to compare the world media attention brought to Leicester by Ranieri with that achieved by the discovery of the remains of Richard III of England.
Leicester entered April at the summit of the Premier League and on 10 April 2016, they clinched a spot in the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League after a 2–0 away win over Sunderland. Despite pressure from the chasing teams, Leicester maintained their lead at the top of the table throughout April and entered May knowing they only needed 3 points to lift the Premier League trophy. Leicester played a hotly contested 1–1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 1 May earning them a crucial point. This meant Tottenham had to win their next game against Chelsea to stay in the title race. After Ranieri's appointment had been questioned in the media, barely avoiding relegation the previous season, and starting the 2015–16 Premier League campaign as 5,000–1 outsiders to win the title, Leicester City clinched the Barclays Premier League title the following day, when second place team Tottenham Hotspur could only manage a 2–2 draw against Ranieri's former club Chelsea, despite leading 2–0 at half time. This was the first time the club had won the title in their 132-year history. The team's success was described as a "fairytale" and the "most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport". In spite of Ranieri's previous "Tinkerman" nickname, Leicester consistently played the same line-up under his stewardship, using fewer players than any other team. With Leicester, Ranieri reverted to his preferred 4–4–2 formation, which made use of heavy pressing, defensive organisation, and fast counter-attacks.
Throughout the season, Ranieri drew praise from the media for his good humour and inspirational leadership at Leicester, and for successfully building a winning mentality and a successful team environment, while also being singled out for his tactical awareness, and for frequently taking the pressure off his players. His title success led some in the media to dub him "King Claudio".
On the last day of the season, Leicester played at Chelsea, who gave them the ceremonial guard of honour. Carlo Cudicini, an Italian goalkeeper who played for Chelsea under Ranieri, presented him with a special award on behalf of the club, as Leicester finished the season with a 1–1 away draw. On 16 May, Ranieri was named Manager of the Year for 2016 by the League Managers' Association, and on 18 May, he was named the 2016 Barclays Premier League Manager of the Season. He was also awarded Grand Officer of the Italian Order of Merit and the Enzo Bearzot Award as best Italian manager of the year.
In April 2016, it was announced that Ranieri would manage the Rest of the World team at Soccer Aid, a charity football match in aid of Unicef and held at Old Trafford in Manchester on 5 June. The Rest of the World team lost 3–2 to an England team comprising former professional players and celebrities.
- As of 15 May 2016
|Cagliari||1 July 1988||30 June 1991||72||23||30||19||31.94|
|Napoli||1 July 1991||30 June 1993||68||25||24||19||36.76|
|Fiorentina||1 July 1993||30 June 1997||140||56||50||34||40.00|
|Valencia||19 September 1997||26 June 1999||76||35||15||26||46.05|
|Atlético Madrid||1 July 1999||3 March 2000||38||9||11||18||23.68|
|Chelsea||18 September 2000||31 May 2004||199||107||46||46||53.77|
|Valencia||16 June 2004||25 February 2005||36||15||9||12||41.67|
|Parma||12 February 2007||31 May 2007||16||7||3||6||43.75|
|Juventus||4 June 2007||18 May 2009||94||46||30||18||48.94|
|Roma||1 September 2009||20 February 2011||90||50||17||23||55.56|
|Inter Milan||22 September 2011||26 March 2012||35||17||5||13||48.57|
|Monaco||30 May 2012||20 May 2014||52||32||12||8||61.54|
|Greece||25 July 2014||15 November 2014||4||0||1||3||0.00|
|Leicester City||13 July 2015||Present||43||25||14||4||58.14|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Claudio Ranieri.|
- Claudio Ranieri at Soccerbase